The Mercury know a little something about impact individuals in women’s sports. On Sunday, they welcomed one of the more recent headliners in that category.
Mo’ne Davis, the standout Little League World Series pitcher who has graced the cover of Sports Illustrated and made countless appearances since she captured the nation’s attention last year, met Phoenix players and took in the game from the sideline. At halftime, she was honored as the 2015 Woman of Inspiration.
While many think of the baseball diamond as Davis’ arena, the 14-year-old superstar is actually a basketball-first athlete. She plans on playing hoops in college, and hopes to join the WNBA ranks after that.
“It’s actually my favorite sport,” Davis said. “I just like the style of play, how it’s fast-paced and it’s very exciting. You never know what’s going to happen. It’s very upbeat.”
Still, it was baseball that became the platform for Davis becoming one of the iconic of women’s sports. She became the first girl in Little League World Series history to pitch a winning game and a shutout.
“She’s created a lot of buzz in American sport,” said Mercury Head Coach Sandy Brondello. “I think she’s fantastic. She’s breaking barriers just like Becky Hammon is. I think it’s good for sport because women’s sport is fun to watch and it’s creating more publicity. She’s a talented young lady and she’s very inspiring.”
Phoenix center Brittney Griner, who also gained national attention early in her career, appreciates what the 14-year-old Davis brings to the table in terms of visibility and motivation for other young, female athletes.
“For her to be so young and doing what she’s doing, it’s big for women,” Griner said. “It shows that not even professional atheltes can make an impact. Young athletes [can do it] too. She hasn’t even hit the tip of the iceberg, yet.”